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Fortifying European Economic Security without building a European Fortress

New EVC-authored report on the EU economic security

EVC Director Jakub Janda and EVC Head of Red Watch Program Zuzana Košková presented new report of Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies (WMCES) developed by the EVC on the economic security of the European Union. During the launch event hosted by the WMCES in Brussels participants discussed economic security tools of the European Union and how to improve them looking on case studies from the US, Japan and Taiwan.

Key takeaways and recommendations:

  1. European Commission (EC) should establish Economic Security Portfolio dedicated to one Commissioner, under the guidance of the Vice-President for Trade or Economic Issues.
  2. Build on the pilot version of the (IDEA) China Fellowships under the guidance of the President of the EC and expand it into a fully-fledged internal Commission think-tank body horizontally covering all key strategic policy areas in EU relationship to China and the wider Indo-Pacific.
  3. The economic-security-focused think-tank body of the Commission should be organizing monthly online check-ins for the wider European expert community to keep the information and knowledge flowing.
  4. To ensure the effectiveness of the policy and respective political inputs, the Commissioner for Economic Security should be put in charge of specific parts of the Commission covering these areas. Separation of specific units from DG Trade should be considered so that the Economic Security Commissioner can be a counterpart to the Commissioner for Trade.
  5. The Vice-President for Trade or Economic Issues and the Commissioner for Economic Security should host the annual “EU Economic Security Week”, a series of conferences and policy consultations for the EU internal discussions and for engaging its allies and partners on sharing best practices, discussing joint initiatives and general positioning of the EU as the economic security superpower.
  6. Internally, the EC should prepare a response toolkit with detailed economic, security and political analysis included, pre-tailored to expectable scenarios against the most hostile foreign actors who endanger EU interests.
  7. The Commission should conduct “Annual Assessment of Strategic Dependencies of the EU” and its member economies on its adversaries and competitors.
  8. Make geo-strategic decisions which align with overall global trends and declared interests of the EU. The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) should be officially cancelled as if it would enter into force, it would deepen European strategic dependencies on the PRC. Alternatively, the Commission should proactively find options for trade and investment cooperation agreements with like-minded democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific, including the Philippines or Taiwan and progress in the FTA with Australia.
  9. The Commission should set up a formal standardized platform for EU businesses that seek an understanding of risks in volatile and politically unreliable foreign markets.
  10. An expert team focusing on sharing lessons in economic security policies should be established with experts from allied and like-minded countries to position the EU as the central source of knowledge and practical experience in the agenda of economic security that can be seen as a positive area for cooperation. Such a team should consist of topical experts from specific DGs and from contracted external experts. The team should be part of the DG Trade since it already works on trade defence issues and anti-coercion issues and has the chief economist unit available.
  11. Quarterly experience-sharing meetings in economic security policies should be established with the most relevant non-EU allies and partners.
  12. Annual public report published by the EEAS and the Commission on “Global Illegitimate Economic Coercion Practices” should be conducted.
  13. The Economic Security Commissioner should be invited to introduce the “Annual Assessment of Strategic Dependencies of the EU” to the European Parliament Plenary and relevant Committees.
  14. The European Parliament Groups should appoint political spokespersons on economic security and have appropriate expert-level staff to provide relevant input and policy proposals.


The report “Fortifying Economic Security: A New European Response to China” will be soon available on our website.